Bean Town, Take 1

FOOD

Some very typical eats – smoothies and salads namely. I did try out a new protein powder. I really love the nutritional makeup of it, but am not in love with the taste compared to Vega or Garden of Life. So we’ll see if I ever get it again or try another flavor.

Tuesday night was the full blended family dinner fun out for Mexican. Many sangrias were had 🙂

For the rest of the week, I was in Boston, getting home late last night/early this morning. All I can say is thank goodness for Clif Bars since there really wasn’t anything I could eat on the first day. Once the coordinator of the meetings I was in learned I was vegan, she really went out of her way to help ensure there was something to eat for me (even soy milk for my coffee the second day we were there!).

Really tasty mushroom soup

Very typical in a plated meal – when handing out desserts, they don’t know what to give me, so I
get a bowl of fruit. Not complaining though, I love fruit and can do without the sugar of a
typical dessert anyway
Salad was fine. Black bean cakes were not. Certainly an A for effort, but mixed with spaghetti

Wednesday evening I met up with A & L for drinks at the top of the Prudential Tower at a place called Top of the Hub. We didn’t eat, but the drinks were amazing.

Dinner was as Kashmir – and Indian place that A and I actually went to almost a year ago the last time I was there. We ordered a bottle of wine, two orders of samosas, and 3 dishes to split. All vegan because they’re wonderful.

Also some other fun eats.

Discovered a sparkling sake called Mio, and I don’t know that my life will ever be the same

FITNESS

I got to one Regymen class, and it kicked my a$$. Focus was core, and I was sore for days!

Several other days I did Peloton streaming cycle workouts in my home gym.

LIFE

Tuesday evening was dinner with the 7 of us. BS helped me with my first ever basketball bracket! I have 3 total. One that is all him, one that is mostly him with a few changes (just couldn’t make WI lose – though I should have because they did!), and one that was actually a Wall Street Journal analytics one. I’m currently in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Though my 3rd is tied with my girlfriend A up in DC. My 1st place is my WSJ bracket, 2nd is the slightly modified one, and 3rd is BS’. Still a bit to go, but it’s been fun and minorly obsessive to check rankings after each game.

Most of the week was in Boston for my first trip there this spring. Two more to go. I left early Wednesday morning. Had a few afternoon meetings while I was there (one hanging in a Starbucks in Harvard Square), and then met with A & L (A and I went to grad school together. L is a professor in Boston). I hadn’t seen A since last summer, and L since a ski trip a little over a year ago, so it was awesome to catch up. Both are coming for a visit this summer, so that’ll be awesome.

Our view
Pick the waitress took. My guy said it was too dark, so A took a selfie and fixed it

Thursday and Friday were meetings, which were really engaging and productive. We had a dinner that Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. It’s always nice getting to know people you really only know via phone calls! Lots of non-work related interesting conversations, especially about food and travel.

I flew home yesterday.

Today I went to Whole Foods and then met my boyfriend and his oldest for lunch. This evening is taking my youngest and her bestie to a hockey game. It’s nice being busy. Not having school work to do won’t get to me 🙂 I have read quite a lot though, which I really enjoy.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…

Half Burnt Beats Fully Burnt

FOOD

I was on the road for a week, so not many homemade eats since my last post! I didn’t get pics of everything, but breakfasts were mostly oatmeal and fruit and sometimes toast. I managed a smoothie one day and I thought I was in heaven.

I was at the airport a bit early, so it was fruit, breakfast potatoes, and a mimosa!

Sunday afternoon/evening I went to Epcot (you know I can’t pass that up when in Florida!). Other than drinks, I got what I always do at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco – falafel, hummus, lentils, olives, couscous, and tabbouleh. It’s their veg platter and it’s yummy.

And the rest while out of town…

Gardein Wings!

Erin McKenna’s fully vegan bakery!

Wine, Popcorn, and Twizzlers at the Orlando Magic game!

Then there’s this past weekend after getting home! Still didn’t cook because my best friend came in for the weekend. Didn’t get a pic of Friday night’s dinner. Mine was a mushroom risotto

AC and I LOVE Thai, and that was her 1 request – no good Thai in NOLA I guess

More gardein wings!
Vegan Bloody Mary at The Bee and Biscuit!

Last night’s very basic noodle and veggie dish

FITNESS

Hahaha. Does hiking all over Orlando and the convention center count? If not…well…then nothing!

I will say I was WAY over my step count, and averaged 5 -7 miles of walking per day.

Glad to be home, and when this stupid cold passes, excited to get back to Regymen and yoga!

LIFE

Well, I was in Orlando for the week for the HIMSS conference. Honestly, it was an excellent conference this year. I had 3 speaking engagements, tons of meetings, a lot of valuable sessions, plus our inaugural booth where we launched 3 products/services. To say it was busy is a major understatement.

Of course, there’s always a blend of a lot of work and quite a bit of play too. Vendors always want to treat you to fun evenings, and that certainly happened.

My quick recap –

Saturday was around the world in Epcot. Sunday was Universal City Walk and some mini golf.

Monday night was a women’s innovation dinner that was actually really great. Then met up with friends for drinks.

Tuesday was a show at a place called Mango’s. Lot’s of singing and dancing and it was a good time. My girlfriend KB lives in Orlando and she was my date! Hadn’t seen her in about 3 years, so it was a ton of fun.

Wednesday was light on the festivities. Went to happy hour to support a friend who is with a new company, but then left to head to Disney Springs and do some shopping and grab dinner. Needed a quiet night.

LOVED these – didn’t buy any – but loved them…

Thursday was the last night there, and we went to the Orlando Magic basketball game. That was a TON of fun and got to catch up with more friends I hadn’t seen in 2 years.

Friday’s flight wasn’t until 455pm, so there was plenty of time to relax at the pool. What I didn’t really pay attention to is the way the sun was falling on me. Only my right side. So – my right arm and leg got a bit of sunburn, while the rest of me didn’t! All is fine now – but I do have a few more freckles on that side of my body!

Friday I came home. My best friend AC arrived from New Orleans about 20 minutes before I landed. So I scooped her up and my guy met us for wine and dinner. My oldest had to work (she works nights), and was leaving right after work for DC and not returning until after AC had to go, so I was instructed by my daughter to bring her aunt AC to the hospital – with food 🙂

Saturday AC and I went to Thai for lunch, then I took her to BackBay Farmhouse brewery, where my guy met up with us for a few drinks and hanging out. Then it was back home and showered for the whole reason AC came this weekend – Kathleen Madigan comedy show. And it was HILARIOUS. After we stopped at Yard House for a drink and apps.

Sunday morning we were up early and to my fav brunch place – the Bee and Biscuit. Then it was off to the airport to drop her off, and me heading back home for a nap and then writing a paper.

Busy busy week! Unfortunately, I came down with a cold this weekend. Woke up Saturday with a sore throat and stuffy. Pushed through, but I think I just need some serious rest. And Sudafed 🙂

On a side note, I really really love sugar skulls. So while at Epcot I did pick up a new water bottle with them on it, and a thing for my desk. AC – who rides in the Mardi Gras parades – made me a purse with one on it – in purple – and it’s the absolute best!

Not as many fluff pics as normal…

So, it was a good week and a great weekend – but I’m happy to be home. Need a bit of recovery to feel 100%, but that’s okay too.

Water Thievery & Other Fun

FOOD

Good eats this week! Of course, I had a TON of leftover soup. My eldest and I really enjoy that one, so it went far with just the two of us eating it.

I made some awesome sweet potato and black bean lasagna-ladas and arroz non pollo one night too. Those leftovers didn’t last long!

Crissie’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Lasagna-Ladas

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes – steamed, baked, or otherwise cooked
  • 1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 8oz container of vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti since I had it on hand)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 diced jalapeño
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Corn tortillas (I used 6)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (or make your own)

Directions

  • I steamed the sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker (Ninja Foodi) and let them cool
  • Slide the sweet potatoes out of the skin and into the base of a food processor
  • Add all the spices, jalapeño, and vegan cream cheese and blend
  • Fold in the beans to make your filling mixture
  • Spray the bottom of a casserole dish. Put a layer of tortillas and top with the enchilada filling. Repeat with another layer
  • Pour the enchilada sauce over everything
  • Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven

Now, if you’re not lazy, you can do this the traditional way and soften each corn tortilla, fill with filling, and roll up and put in the casserole dish. But I always make them lasagna-style. Hence the name of the dish.

The arroz non pollo is adapted from Viva Vegan – an amaaaaazing vegan Latin cookbook. And while I change mine up, it’s close enough that I won’t write that out.

I topped it with some tart homemade soy yogurt and a spicy green sauce. SO good.

Otherwise a lot of soups, salads, and other yummy stuff. Didn’t take a pic of last night’s salad (was meeting new people for the first time and didn’t feel like explaining why I was taking a picture!). But it was an arugula and crunchy potato salad with a maple vinaigrette – and was delicious.

Bakers, tamari mushrooms, and savory tofu cubes

Panera lunch date! Forgot how much I like Panera.

Sunflower seed butter and banana. Love this as a pre-workout meal in the mornings.

Tofu was pan fried and, when lightly browned, topped with sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and
tamari. Really loved how it came out.
Brunch with my boyfriend this morning on our way home. Tofu scramble w/vegan sausage!

Dinner tonight was yummy. Busted out Veganomicon and made lentil Snobby Joes and herbed potatoes. Served with salads. Hadn’t made the joes in a long time, but the kids were stoked they made an appearance. Always been a favorite.

FITNESS

Okay, lots of gym fun this week. I am absolutely loving Regymen – took 3 classes this week. 2 of them were the regular HIIT class, and one was a boxing version. I am sore everywhere, but in the best possible way.

You wear a MyZone heart rate monitor – which is accurate 99.4% to an EKG. There’s an associated app with it. The workout is geared towards keeping you in a specific heart rate zone – delineated by color. Typically, they want you to have a total of 15 minutes in the top two zones (yellow and red). Uh. I spend almost ALL my time in there. After class I actually asked the instructor if I should be worried. It indicated I was maxing out my HR at 98% or so for a ton of time, but felt I could go harder. She asked what other exercises I do – I said running and yoga. Apparently because I run I have a really strong heart, and my max HR is actually a lot higher than the typical calculation based on age. I was told to sleep in it one night so it learns my normal and resting heart rates to calibrate it. I like that it’s smart enough to do that.

But seriously ! 569 calories burned in a single 52 minute workout! That’s insane.

Me after a Thursday night Regymen Burn class.
This was Friday’s lunch time Regymen Box class.

LIFE

First – it was a crazy weather week. A couple days in the 20’s and 30’s. Followed by 50’s-70. And rain. Hence the gym and not running outside!

All told, a good and productive week. Got lots of school stuff done and work is really ramping up – and I’m SO glad. Reconnected with one of my start-up friends as we start to collaborate on professional and personal stuff. He owns a coffee shop in Norfolk, so we met there for our meeting (that’s the coffee and hummus picture above).

It was a crappy day, but still a pretty decent view and great location!

I worked from home on Monday, and was taunted by Kuma and Luna and their naps. And Luna constantly “sharing” my water…and each of those pictures is a separate incident of water “sharing”. Not just me taking a bunch at once.

Friday night my guy and I went out. Two different wine bars – not the one we normally go to – and to be honest, the wine was only mediocre. Company was fabulous, and his dinner was excellent, but I think we’ll stick to what we know we love.

We also decided an overnight trip to Richmond the next day would be a fantastic idea. And it was! I had a haircut appt at 1115, and after went to his house, left my car there, and we went to Richmond. Stopped first at his friends house for a couple beers and catching up. Then it was off to dinner where I actually met a couple people in his family 😳. It was actually really nice, and after we all went to Buskey’s to have cider and play board games. Then it was to the hotel and then home today. Honestly, was a fantastic weekend.

Today was writing a paper and some grocery shopping. Low key.

And – more fluff fun! I really can’t get over how much fun Luna and Kuma have together. Makes me really happy that they get along so well.

Took it too late, but Luna was grooming Kuma and it was so stinking sweet!

Home Sweet Home

FOOD

I didn’t snap a pic of it, but my Christmas dinner made by my BIL was Tofurkey sausage, baked potato, sweet potato, and corn. It was very filling and yummy and I couldn’t finish my plate!

Thursday I had lunch with my boyfriend – Thai of course!

Dinner was veggie burgers. Nothing fancy.

Friday morning was a smoothie, lunch was a slow cooker sweet potato, white bean, and kale soup, and dinner was R and I out with my guy and his son at Yard House where I had the gardein orange “chicken”.

Saturday was an oatmeal and banana breakfast, and lunch was busting out the Ninja Foodi for a brown rice with roasted sweet potato and tofu meal. SO good. Plus a BAS (big ass salad). I made a vegan ranch dressing for the salad and for dipping veggies.

Dinner Saturday was out with my guy at the Grilled Cheese Bistro in Norfolk. I had a vegan caprese sammich that was epically delicious. I couldn’t finish it – but I really wanted to! Before dinner, we stopped for drinks at one of our fav eclectic spots downtown.

This morning was a breakfast salad at Whole Foods and then leftover soup for lunch. Snacked on some veggies with dip too.

FITNESS

Friday I did a YouTube spin class in my garage followed by some yoga.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did the weight circuit and then ran 3 miles.

Also – today marked a 14 day streak for daily meditation. I’m using Headspace and love it.

LIFE

Okay, Christmas evening was spent at my sisters with my mom as well. We exchanged gifts and had dinner. After taking my mom back to her place, I walked Kuma and then R and I packed since we were hitting the road early the next morning.

My seester made me vegan cookies!
Little bear and mini moose!
Christmas afternoon cocktails with my sister
My parents look so young!!!
My mom holding me as a baby

Gift from my sister. So funny (and it shouldn’t be – it’s actually tragic)
Jordy getting jealous of my sister snuggling Kuma

Silly text with my guy about Kuma hogging the bed

And indeed, on Wednesday we were on the road by 540am. A quick stop at Starbucks, and we ended up pushing straight through to home with brief stops for gas and to walk Kuma. Traffic was strange – part of I-80 was shut down due to a major accident, so we were routed into Michigan for a bit. All was fine until we got near DC, which sucked royally. We should’ve gotten home by 930, but it was almost 1130 by the time we rolled in. But – felt great to get home.

Kid slept the better part of the 16 hr drive.

Thursday early my guy came over. Excellent timing as he helped save Kuma’s life! She had gotten into some chocolate my son left on his floor (ugh), and thankfully my boyfriend knew how to make Kuma vomit! Hydrogen peroxide on a pancake. Worked like a charm too – poor bear. Once we knew she was fine, we had some wonderful quality time together.

Thursday afternoon R and I went to the SPCA where we promptly fell in love with a 1 year old cat named Mena! She was very outgoing and demanding face scratches. We knew she was meant for us. We filled out the application and went home. Sure enough, the next morning we got the call that we were approved! They had to validate I owned my home and that Kuma was up to date on her immunizations. So – off we went! We’ve renamed her Luna (a name my boyfriend picked out and R and I thought was perfect). Her and Kuma’s meeting was relatively uneventful. I think Kuma is happy to have a kitty again. She’s missed Ginny and Bumble.

Saturday was grocery shopping and errand running, and then an evening and overnight with my guy. We were originally planning to go to Christmastown in Williamsburg, but decided to stay close to home. By the end of the night, we had gone to 3 bars and 1 restaurant. Heard some local music, and then went back to his place. Awesome night all around.

One of our stops was at Grain. I wanted to see the life sized ginger bread house in the Hilton Main where Grain (it’s a rooftop bar) is. And we’ve always enjoyed going there for drinks.

This morning we went out for coffee, and then he headed home while I went to Whole Foods. Went home, ran out again for some errands, and have mostly been just relaxing (aka – bored out of my mind!).

All my kids are now home! M got home from NY yesterday, and A got home from Toronto today! Nice to have them all home again.

And Luna is having fun exploring! The first day she spent much of it under my bed. But she’s been going around a lot, but mostly seems to stay upstairs.

Her food and liter box are in the laundry room, which I separate with a baby gate to keep Kuma out

So it’s been a week of home sweet home for sure! Going back to my old “home” to visit family for the holidays. Then the joy of coming back home to Virginia, which is very much our home now. To bringing Luna to her new forever home. All sweet indeed.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, still nothing great to report. Haven’t been overly contentious of spending, and that’s not good – that’s backtracking to old habits.

Home for the Holidays!

FOOD

Most of the time since the last post has been on the road and away from home, but not all!

PRT – or pre-road trip was all about cooking up what I already had in the house. I didn’t want to grocery shop when no one would be home.

One meal was a Gardein skillet thing. It wasn’t bad.

There was oatmeal and smoothies for breakfast. And since I had 2 blocks of tofu, pressed that and made jerk tofu, coconut rice, and tamari mushrooms.

Then it was road trip food, of which I’ve taken very little photographs. We packed a lot of snacks, so that was mostly what we ate. Also got a falafel at a rest stop in Chicago! That was fun.

There was one fun night at a restaurant in Youngstown, OH – which turns out to be where one of my coworkers is from! Salad and pasta primavera.

Oh, and my sister did homemade pizzas last night. Tried the So Delicious Mozzarella for the first time. It was good, though I think I still like Daiya better.

FITNESS

Nothing since I left on Friday – didn’t even pack workout clothes. Winter in Wisconsin – I’m not running outside!

But the few days before I went to the gym each day.

LIFE

So this holiday season is a bit unique. It’s my first one without all my kids with me since having them. My oldest is in Toronto celebrating with her soon to be husband’s family. My middle is in Albany meeting and celebrating with his girlfriend’s dad and family.

So, R and I came to my hometown in Wisconsin to spend the holiday with family. It started with a road trip Friday morning. An overnight in Ohio, and arrived late afternoon on Saturday.

Day 1 and all excited! Also, grandest Kumaventure yet!
The rest of the 2 days was largely R and Kuma sleeping

Elevators confused her…

Ah Chicago. Did not miss your traffic…

On Sunday was my big family party, which was awesome. First time all the cousins have been together in at least 10 years – mainly because I don’t often come home. My cousins all have kids now, and many are similar ages to R, so she had a totally great time – which made the whole trip worth it.

My cousin hosted the party at my sisters house. Fun tags on the wine!

R and her cousins goofing off in the game room

All the cousins’ kids! So fun to see them all together
My BIL wearing his white elephant gift – one I brought

The youngest cousin!
Me and most of my cousins. I really do miss them all.

Christmas Eve R and I and my niece and sister went to see Mary Poppins, which was really good. Then had pizzas.

Today is a quiet day. Will go over by my mom’s in a few hours, spend time there, then bring her back to my sisters for dinner and gift exchange. All told, a quite and nice trip home – though I miss my older two a lot and hope they’re having a great time.

Tomorrow we hit the road for our journey back to VA!

Last Thursday the kids and I actually exchanged our gifts. My youngest got me a Ninja Foodi! I’m SO excited. I used it that night to make the jerk tofu. Can’t wait to get home and play!

I’m also looking forward to NYE. That evening my boyfriend and his kids and me and mine are having our Christmas. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Otherwise – fun times!

End of day 1 travel selfie sent to my guy. Of course he had to send me one too!

Kuma and Jordy getting to know each other
Kuma, my sister, and I watching Bird Box on Netflix Saturday night.

Next 3 pics are a progression of my Aunt feeding Kuma….

My Year of Less

No comment 😏